A vast Pinus forest, the majority of which burnt down in 1911 and was later restored by planting. About 1,000 ha have not been cut since then. Ground conditions vary widely, from dry areas to wet depressions. In the north, the area borders the Gauja river, where there are many oxbow lakes and natural flood-plain meadows on terraces. The Gauja valley is rich in stands of old broadleaved forest. Human activities include forestry and hunting.
The most important site for Caprimulgus europaeus in Latvia. The IBA also supports a diverse assemblage of breeding birds of open and closed forest and of riverine wetlands.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Zile forest area. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2020.